Thursday, September 29, 2022

Baghdad

Iraq to increase wheat cultivation area

 Iraq to increase wheat cultivation area

A wheat field. Photo: AFP

Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) – Iraq intends to increase the area planted with wheat in the new season 2022-2023 to 750 thousand hectares.

The attempt to increase the local production comes amid a crisis represented in shortage of the strategic stocks due to decreased local productivity as a result of rain scarcity.

The spokesperson for the Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture, Hamid Al-Nayef, said the local planting season is expected to start in mid-October until November.

Statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture indicate that Iraq harvested 625 thousand hectares in the season of 2021-2022.

Al-Nayef explained that the ministry, in cooperation with the Ministry of Water Resources, is in the process of developing an agricultural plan, and expects more dependence on groundwater as the country has been facing water shortages for several years.

Iraq is a major importer of wheat and needs between 4.5 and 5 million tons of wheat annually for its food subsidy program.

Local wheat is usually mixed with imported wheat from Australia, Canada and the United States to make up for any shortfall in the local production.

The Iraqi government is working on plans to increase its imports of wheat in order to increase its strategic stocks that have been decreased to an extent leading to concerns related to food security in the country.

A global report classified Iraq as one of the countries with a low stock of wheat amid rising prices of wheat globally.

Iraq is among the Arab countries threatened by the rising prices of bread as a result of the decisions preventing the export of wheat, and the consequences of the war between Moscow and Kiev.

“Iraq would announce an international tender to buy 300 thousand tons of wheat of different origins during this week or the next week,” an Iraqi official said last Monday.

Director of the state-owned company for grain trade, Mohamed Hanoun, said that the Iraqi government allocated 930 billion dinars (638 million USD) to buy 1.3 million tons of wheat to cover the local consumption until May 2023, according to the Iraqi News Agency (INA).